Photos by Katie Weeks ’16
The smallest school in the Patriot League houses the biggest trio of forwards in the conference. Between seniors Danielle Fiacco, 6’7”, and Emily Homan, 6’3”, standing taller then their opponents each game is old news, but newcomer freshman Harriet Ottewill-Soulsby, 6’3”, adds the spark and an edge to a veteran frontcourt that has always been strong but was never quick.
In Wednesday’s win against Colgate 81-70, the fours provided exactly what head coach Dianne Nolan had hoped for.
“Ottewill-Soulsby was the deciding factor. They have some bigs with quickness, and that has been our Achilles heel. People are running their bigs, and our bigs are tall but not quick and Harriet is,” Nolan said.
The three-headed monster was assembled once Nolan saw teams were consistently beating Lafayette in transition.
“It takes our bigs out of the game when a team is transitional,” Nolan said.
The combination of Homan and Fiacco’s offensive abilities as well as Ottewill-Soulsby’s speed has created not only the tallest trio in the frontcourt, but also the most well rounded. After the win over Colgate, Fiacco is just eight points away from joining Homan in the 1,000 point club. Fiacco would be able to add this to her list of accolades throughout her career, which includes leading all active players in the NCAA in blocks with 363. Homan is one of only 16 players in program history to eclipse 1,000 points.
Both Homan and Fiacco rely on each other’s skill sets to prepare them for the opposing post.
“In the past three years, we have truly grown by playing against each other in practice. We push each other every day on offense and defense which has allowed us to become tougher and be prepared for the post we face against,” Fiacco said. “By forcing the defense to box-out, we prepare ourselves for what other teams might do to crash the boards.”
The training prior to game day against Colgate resulted in Homan, Otewill-Soulsby, and Fiacco shooting a combined 14-30 from the field with 33 points and 30 of Lafayette’s 34 rebounds.
“Having them down low allows our offense to flow inside and outside very smoothly because of their size, and the position they get on their opponents allowing an easy target for us to get them the ball,” sophomore guard Jamie O’Hare said.
Fiacco and Homan’s five blocks in the second half helped Lafayette clinch the sixth seed in the Patriot League tournament that starts next Tuesday.
Homan and Fiacco’s abilities have not only have helped Lafayette over the last few years down low, but also have had the ability to convince people to travel oversees.
“Danielle and Emily were part of the reason I decided to come to Lafayette,” Ottewill-Soulsby said. “It has been really great playing against Danielle being 6’7”, having to adjust to playing someone that high. Emily plays a similar game to me but she is stronger and more experienced.”
The Loughborough, England native went 3-5 with 10 rebounds in her first career start.
When asked about the experience of starting she said, “It was really exciting and I am honored. Truly a great game all around.”
With Fiacco on the way out, Ottewill-Soulsby has big shoes to fill.
“Harriet has been playing really well lately. It is always tough to replace a player like Danielle, but she has been improving since the beginning of the season and is now more capable of making a big impact in the game,” Homan said.